That’s my Father! Sure, my eyes had run through Revelation 4 before and gazed with wonder at the awesome One on the Throne before. This time was different. My Bible was closed and I sat in the swirling clouds of despondency, low confidence and feelings of worthlessness that have surrounded me for as long as I can remember. Suddenly, the thought burst through the gloom: T Continue reading
“You’ll be back,” says the haunting thought. It mocks as you swear you’ll never dial that number again, even though you leave it in your phonebook or when you clear your browser’s history but leave that hidden folder (for next time?). Maybe it rolls its eyes at you when you quit smoking for the sixth time that month or when you pour that drink into the sink but keep it for deposit.
In a time when clerical scandals find their way into screaming headlines, we are ever more leery of any calls to submit to church leadership. Thus, clergy and laity find themselves at an impasse for no leader can lead when none follow and followers, rubbing their chain-chaffed wrists, are rightly reluctant to subject themselves to tyranny. Perhaps no leader told you of visions telling him to claim your teenage daughter as his wife but you may have been blinded by your Continue reading
Say you opened your front door and found God the Eternal Father standing before you, all smiles in a t-shirt and jeans, ready to spend a whole day with you… how many of your plans would be spoiled? Would you be uncomfortable if He asked to listen to the songs on your playlist? How would you react if he broke into dance with one of your earphones in His ear? Would the people you spend every day with be surprised to hear you speak politely to them? Would the beggar on the street freeze with disbelief after you dropped a coin, then two and a note into his plate?
Surely it wouldn’t be long before you relaxed and became yourself with breath finally caught and shoulders lowered. Those questions lingering in the back of your mind would break forth, catapulting off your tongue in rapid succession. Why me, why am I here? Why the family I was born into? Why did you let that loved one die? Why, oh why, is this world full of pain and suffering if you’re so loving? How deep your shock would be if instead of replying you, His shoulders shook with sobs of pain; pain you couldn’t hope to fathom because, as He would explain between sobs, only He knows the full glory of the destiny He would lead us to if only we stopped struggling.
At that very moment, your shopping list prayers would fall away as you looked at God in a different light. No longer would He be a mechanical celestial vending machine demanding presumptuous prayers in order to pop out whatever selfish treat you wanted but a loving Father longing for a hug from you, waiting anxiously for your face to light up at the sight or mere thought of Him. You would marvel at the willingness of an infinitely powerful God to be vulnerable with His creation, at the incredible courage involved in creating beings with the ability to reject Him. How petty your power games would seem then!
Overcome with emotion, the stark reality of your brokenness would squeeze your chest and pull a tear down your cheek. A new question would linger on your tongue, unsure if you would like the answer: “Why did a God like this bother hanging out with me? Was this visit a prelude to a break up? Did He come to tell me that He’d had enough of me?” Surprised, you’d feel His hand grip yours with a little squeeze. Yes, God would put His arm around your shoulder and say,
“Hey, would you want to talk about why you feel the need to be in control all the time? There’s no need to fear Me. There’s no need to fear anything, you and Me, we got this.” What a chat that would be! There’s no need to imagine either, God the Holy Spirit, comes to you every morning, longing to spend the day with you, guiding you every step of the way.
If Jesus suffered the death of the sinner, why did fire not consume him as described in Revelation 20? Why did He say nothing of the pain of the cross? Instead, He cried out in anguish of alienation, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?!” (Matthew 27:46) Continue reading
Life sucks. Babies die while their parents’ prayers are still warm and fresh, bad boys get the girl and nice guys finish last. So we gaze into the swirling winds and screaming tempests of life and are tempted to give up all hope of deciphering life’s formula. There is no formula, some would have us believe, and they are not without proselytes. Dare we blame them? Continue reading
Let’s be honest, most books and discussions on prayer can be summarised in one line: How to get what you want from God, especially when He’s reluctant to give it to you. Our testimonies aren’t too different either, for they are thinly veiled boasting about our God-given goodies. The message is clearly that we know God loves us because of the benefits that He gives us. The underlying motivation is selfishness, we serve God because He serves us.
Many heartfelt expressions of love for God are really receipts to mark a transaction Keep on reading!